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 Post subject: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:15 am 
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I had read on this board that some people buy toys, carefully take them out of their packages, then replace them with cheaper toys and return them.

Last weekend At Target I experienced this firsthand when I noticed 4 "Cobra Shock Troopers" on the GI Joe pegs. I was excited at first, and even more so when I saw that they didn't look like the regular shock trooper I'd seen in pictures. "Could this be some kind of rare variant?!" I thought.

I picked up all four and started examining them. While each one was wearing camo fatigues, a helmet, and googles, they were all different. One had blonde hair, one was packaged with different weapons from the rest, etc. I thought. "Wow, is Hasbro doing four variants or something?"

Then I noticed that in each package there were a bunch of indentations for weapons and asscessories that weren't there. Then I noticed that the weapons that were there looked extremely cheap and bent. Then I noticed some glue, like rubber cement, around where the plastic meets the cardboard backing and I finally realized what had happened. Someone had replaced the Cobra Shock Troopers with off brand "Alpha Team Bravo" (or whatever they're called) figures and returned them.

This was at the Target in Alpharetta, GA on Northpoint Pkwy. I thought about telling someone working there but I was in a rush and also thought they may view me with suspicion (as I was wearing my trusty backpack), so I didn't.

The repackage job was very professional, even after looking at it for several moments you could not see anything wrong. It was only when I began to minutely scrutinize them that it was given away.


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:35 am 
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I see it all the time, but I've only been taken in once.

Somebody replaced the helmet removable Orion with the standard Orion in the DCUC 2 pack with Lightray a few years back.

Man, I was ticked off. But I don't think I would have noticed it even if I was suspicious. :(

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:55 pm 
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We need a thread dedicated to pics of these. Not to encourage, mind you!

But some are rather funny. I laughed out loud when I saw this one:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Didn't we have a thread like that once?


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:39 pm 
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JamesTheRogue wrote:
I had read on this board that some people buy toys, carefully take them out of their packages, then replace them with cheaper toys and return them.

Last weekend At Target I experienced this firsthand when I noticed 4 "Cobra Shock Troopers" on the GI Joe pegs. I was excited at first, and even more so when I saw that they didn't look like the regular shock trooper I'd seen in pictures. "Could this be some kind of rare variant?!" I thought.

I picked up all four and started examining them. While each one was wearing camo fatigues, a helmet, and googles, they were all different. One had blonde hair, one was packaged with different weapons from the rest, etc. I thought. "Wow, is Hasbro doing four variants or something?"

Then I noticed that in each package there were a bunch of indentations for weapons and asscessories that weren't there. Then I noticed that the weapons that were there looked extremely cheap and bent. Then I noticed some glue, like rubber cement, around where the plastic meets the cardboard backing and I finally realized what had happened. Someone had replaced the Cobra Shock Troopers with off brand "Alpha Team Bravo" (or whatever they're called) figures and returned them.

This was at the Target in Alpharetta, GA on Northpoint Pkwy. I thought about telling someone working there but I was in a rush and also thought they may view me with suspicion (as I was wearing my trusty backpack), so I didn't.

The repackage job was very professional, even after looking at it for several moments you could not see anything wrong. It was only when I began to minutely scrutinize them that it was given away.


Yeah. I saw those. I was at that Target last week. Actually, I posted this sighting on another site. Here's an excerpt from my post.

alcinde4 wrote:
I also went to the Northpoint Target and saw 4 ST's that some jooglejam (again) swapped out for 4 Bravo Team figures. Of course Target is none the wiser. My wife was with me, and even she said this is getting ridiculous.


I'm starting to think it's the same person, because I've seen similar things, in different stores, in different parts of Metro Atlanta. The customer service is completely indifferent in most retail stores, when you bring this theft (let's call it what it is) to their attention. Maybe next time I'll just call one of their corporate offices. I don't think it makes a difference to talk to the customer service manager(s).

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:31 am 
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The worst Ive seen recently is the recent star Wars Target Hoth Battle packs-- were all the Rebel soldiers were switched out for POTF 2 Soldiers-- (but since the rest of the box isnt see through- who knows if they didnt steal the rest of the stuff out of the inside..)

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:11 am 
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Maybe that Targets Asset Protection guy might be interested. Next time I'm in the store (if the switched figures are still there) I will ask to talk with him.

I know Target does have the capability to get a picture of whoever did this, considering they use digital cameras and hard drives that store months worth of footage. They'd just have to look through the reciept records for whoever returned 4 GI Joes. (Since they'd know the exact price of this return, it might not be too hard to find.) Then look at the footage for the date/time of the return.

If the person had it returned to a credit card they'd be caught. If not, at least they'd have a picture for when he comes in again. Judging from the professionalism of the repackaging, and also you saying you've seen more of these in other stores, I bet this guy does this all the time.

The regular store staff might not care but the AP guy might, because while they don't have official quotas for catching people, the more thieves they apprehend the better they look and the faster they get promoted.


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:10 pm 
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I agree with Cantina-Dan, If anyone has pictures to share, I'd love to see this turn into a photo thread. Although I find this behavior abhorrent-completely reprehensible-and I wish these guys would get caught and busted, I find that there isn't anything that puts me on the floor laughing more than photos of these package swaps. Sorry :lol: . The photo of the Joker with the smiling motor racer had me in stitches for a minute :lol:

I've only seen this once with an Iron Man 3-pack. But I do see plenty of sets and packages with figures and stuff ripped right out with no replacement.

So, yeah, If anyone finds these and they have their camera with them, please share. I find these funny :D But it's also very serious :x .


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:49 pm 
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I think switching figures is low down, but I don't think there is much we can do about it. I wouldn't bother complaining to employees at Target or any other store. They don't know Star Trek from Star Wars.

And let's face it, some kid is gonna buy the package with the switched figure, and he won't know the difference. He'll play with the toy just the same.

The DCIH Joker pic is hilarious. I've seen plenty of switched figures, but that is classic.


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:56 pm 
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This one was posted today on the MattyCollector facebook page:

Image

DUCU Big Barda card back, DCUC Wonder Woman chip/insert - Live action "The Tick" Lady Liberty figure.


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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:31 am 
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JuliusMarx wrote:
DUCU Big Barda card back, DCUC Wonder Woman chip/insert - Live action "The Tick" Lady Liberty figure.

That's just weird!

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:09 am 
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I was thinking "that is an awful lot of effort just to fool the return clerk".

Its obvious that 90% of the time they aren't paying attention anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:35 am 
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I haven't seen it yet with figures, only Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars.

Reporting it results in a blank stare, momentary removal from the peg/shelf, and then it finds its way back days later. oh well.

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Oh, man, Cantina Dan, that DCIH "Joker" borders on the embarrassing.

I haven't heard about this happening for a while, but I HAVE encountered it. Unfortunately, unless you're really specific with what's wrong with the package and toy contained therein, the average clerk isn't going to pay much attention.

I saw a Cobra Commander package a couple of years ago that had a 1990's era Luke Skywalker figure stuffed in it. I took it to customer service and asked to see a manager. They got me someone that at least was wearing a manager's badge. I handed him the toy and said, "Since when does Luke Skywalker work for Cobra?" The manager at least managed to act reasonably upset.

The problem is that in multi-department retail stores like Walmart and Target, toys are hardly the only things they sell, and the customer service departments have to deal every day with people who are complaining about everything from defective TVs to ill-fitting clothes to stale food. Somebody brings up an action figure that they've swapped out for a "refund" -- they're going to get it without much thought because the clerk (a) probably doesn't know the toy lines very well and (b) couldn't really care less about a $10 or under toy, especially if they've just had someone griping about a wall-sized TV whose price tag was maybe in the four-digit range.

And, unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn't do any good because you get somebody in charge that hopes maybe someone else will be dumb enough to buy it and not complain. I once returned a Visionaries vehicle, the Sky Claw, to Target, because it was missing its wing panels. I flat-out TOLD them it was missing its wing panels, even though I had sealed everything back in its box and taped it shut. A week later I was in that same Target and the Sky Claw was on the shelves. I recognized the tape I'd used. :roll:

Toys "R" Us is a BIT better with this. I used to know the manager at one store, and when I started to see this sort of thing happening at Walmart and Target, I warned her to keep an eye out for it in TRU, and she sincerely appreciated the information. Later told me they caught someone trying to return swapped out toys. But that sort of thing is admittedly the exception.

Like to get my hands on whomever swiped all those Cobra Shock Troopers, though. I haven't even seen ONE yet.

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 Post subject: Re: My first experience with package switching scammers.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:31 pm 
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TrekkerGI wrote:
Like to get my hands on whomever swiped all those Cobra Shock Troopers, though. I haven't even seen ONE yet.


FYI, I went back to that store about a week later and informed a manager. As of a couple days ago, they were STILL on the pegs :roll:.

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